The Sack of Bastion
As the sun rises on a snowy winter's morning in the Crownlands, the sunlight falls on a changed Bastion. The Cathedral, the site of such celebration the previous night in the hours before the horror began, still stands, but the beautiful stained glass of the windows have been busted out and vines cling to the structure. At the harbor, most of the buildings and half of the piers are destroyed along with a quarter of the fleet that House Grayson had docked there. The rubble that is left, along with most of the city, is covered in the dried out corpses of thousands upon thousands of insects. Grayhold remains standing as well, but with smashed walls. There are still sounds of fighting in the streets as shavs, seeing an opportunity, fight for territory in the neighborhoods where Bastion's citizens used to dwell. Yet, despite all this destruction, there is nothing more horrifying than the bodies of those that didn't survive the night littering the streets and buildings of Bastion. Fear and terror broke the illusion of safety provided by Bastion's strong walls and the leadership of the House Grayson, which is being credited for the fact that there is even any city left to rebuild at all. Survivors, amounting to a little more than half of the city proper, slowly make their way from Bastion toward Arx and the towns and settlements betweeen, whispering to each other in disbelief if they are even able to speak of what they have seen at all.
There appear to be a dozen unusually large colicky ticks terrorizing the Crown Ward of Arx. Witnesses say they were seen leaving the Nox'alfar embassy.
Thankfully, the skilled people of Arx had this mishap that will be known as The Tick Invasion of 1016 from this point onwards, well in hand. Non-lethal methods of handling the strange species of tick seems to have been a good call since they had a tendency to explode in such a manor as to cause onlookers to wonder just how such creatures fit all of that blood in them. Most of them had been ushered into the Embassy by Kastelon, Marzio, Ivy, Acacia, Sorrel, Silvio and Denica but the few that didn't quite make it ended up drenching both Alarice Plaza and Grace Way in blood.
Spokespersons from the Nox'alfar embassy insisted that, "This is what happens when you don't keep spiders on hand." Denying any culpability for what happened. They have however extended their favor for those involved in mitigating the situation. Each being classed as, Level Four Tick Herders. Whatever that means.
As the scouting parties draw closer to Bastion, they find something unusual. It's a /nice/ kind of unusual, however. Quiet roads, quiet forests. They expected to encounter a higher number of enemy shavs while traveling, but those numbers seem to be thinned out somewhat. Another point of note, numerous refugees that finally make it to their destinations indicate that they were waylaid by attackers and kidnappers along the road. But that they were later liberated by brave and honorable strangers, and then escorted to a safer point to continue their journey. Odd, but not unappreciated all things considered.